Call it a mini “green” movement sweeping the Treasure Valley.
In the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about how entities that are on a tight budget, can in fact build energy efficient, green buildings, for about what it would cost to go the traditional route.
First, Amber Van Ocker, owner of LKV Architects in Boise, explained how the Caldwell School District was able to build two state-of-the-art, LEED-certified schools, that not only save thousand on energy costs, but promote a healthy, conducive learning environment for students and faculty.
“The designer has a responsibility when utilizing public funds to determine the best design solution that meets certain goals,” Van Ocker said. “These projects proved it can be done on budget and one time.”
Then, just days ago, after speaking to Troy Hagen, director of Ada County Paramedics, who was telling me about a new ambulance station being constructed in Meridian, I found out that that energy efficient design and other sustainable components will also be incorporated into the facility.
Doug Cooper, principal at McKibben & Cooper in Boise, designed the new station near Linder and Ustick roads. He said it will include a solar hot water system, a day room with south facing window, a high level of insulation, and passive heating.
The building is identical in design and sustainability to Star’s ambulance station, also designed by McKibben & Cooper. The only difference is that in Star, the building is LEED-certified, and in Meridian, the facility, though highly efficient, won’t go through the certification process due to funding constraints.
Cooper said in this day and age, more owners are seeking smart design options when constructing even the most simple of facilities, like an ambulance station.
“In these times, more people are asking for sustainable design features,” Cooper said.
After speaking to both Van Ocker and Cooper, I felt refreshed, especially when finding out that going green isn’t reserved for companies or entities with endless amounts of resources. Smart design can be incorporated into limited budgets, which may pave the way for individuals seeking a greener way of building, to actually pursue it, and not break the bank.